The Effect of Sleep on Memory Consolidation of Emotional and Distinctive Composite Scenes Open Access

Campanella, Carolina (2014)

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Episodic memory for emotionally arousing stimuli is usually enhanced relative to neutral stimuli. However, this enhancement for arousing stimuli is also associated with memory costs to background, neutral information, a phenomenon known as the emotion-induced memory trade-off effect. Moreover, it has been established that this memory trade-off increases after a period of sleep, suggesting sleep may selectively enhance emotional memory via consolidation. It has been previously established in the laboratory that distinctive information can also elicit similar memory trade-offs; suggesting that similar cognitive processes may underlie trade-offs for emotional and distinctive information. However it is currently unknown whether distinctive information is also preferentially consolidated after sleep. Therefore, the primary aim of the current research was to extend existing literature examining how emotion influences what information is better remembered by manipulating both affective and non-affective factors (such as distinctiveness) to determine what influences consolidation processes. Memory consolidation was examined by manipulating sleep in two separate studies. Both studies used a memory trade-off paradigm to investigate what information is selectively enhanced after sleep. At encoding, participants viewed scenes consisting of an item (either negative, positive, neutral, or visually distinctive but emotionally neutral) against a neutral background. After an interval, which included a period of sleep, participants completed an incidental recognition test on the items and backgrounds presented separately. In Study 1, consolidation was investigated over the course of a full night of sleep. The goal was to replicate previous findings, which observed enhanced memory trade-offs for negative scenes after sleep relative to neutral scenes, and extend those findings to investigate whether similar enhancements would also be observed for positive and distinctive scenes. In Study 2, the role of sleep in consolidating distinctive, negative and positive composite scenes was further investigated by examining the relation between different components of sleep and memory performance using a polysomnography-recorded nap paradigm. In Study 1 we observed no benefit of sleep on memory performance, but we did observe weak correlations between memory for neutral information and sleep duration, and both deep sleep and REM. In Study 2 we did not observe an enhanced memory trade-off after a nap; however, we did observe a marginally significant sleep-related increase in memory for all items and a significant sleep-related increase in memory for neutral items. Moreover, we observed weak correlations between sleep duration and memory for distinctive items and positive items, time in Stage 2 sleep and memory for negative backgrounds and positive items, and sleep spindle density and memory for negative backgrounds. Overall the findings provide tentative evidence that the beneficial benefits of sleep may be dependent on the experimental context, such as the study paradigm used, and highlight the importance of examining multiple affective factors when investigating the enhancing effects of sleep on memory.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

General Introduction 1

Overnight Study Manuscript 49

Title Page 49

Abstract 50

Body 51

References 87

Tables 97

Figures 103

Appendix 109

Nap Study Manuscript 125

Title Page 125

Abstract 126

Body 127

References 164

Tables 176

Figures 182

Appendix 189

General Discussion 204

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